Most New Yorkers probably don’t believe what’s happening in downtown Brooklyn. They just cannot understand how a big developer could actually draw up a project that would completely change a community without first consulting the people who own homes, rent apartments, and send their children to school in the area.
It sounds like something that Saddam Hussein would have done in a Kurdish community or the way American troops would treat a Baathist area. These residents cannot believe that their Mayor, their Boro President and their Speaker would support the developer’s plan without first coming to the people who voted them into office.
A television host interviewing State Senator Velmanette Montgomery and Councilman David Yassky thought for sure that these two representatives of the area had been consulted. So when Montgomery remarked that neither the developers nor the elected officials pushing the plan had spoken to her the interviewer clearly thought that she was not being quite truthful. So he turned to Yassky and asked him whether he had been consulted. Yassky, somewhat reluctantly, admitted that no one had as yet spoken to him.
The interviewer was definitely stunned. He expressed absolute amazement that the drawings and plans for the area had been completed and were being presented as a done-deed to the people who live in the community and to the people who were elected to represent them.
Even if the project had been perfect, and improved the community in every way, Bruce Ratner and the politicians owed these residents the respect of consulting with them through the officials who represent them. Ratner would never dare to pull a stunt like this in the communities where Gifford Miller, or Mike Bloomberg have their homes. It just wouldn’t happen, and it shouldn’t be happening in downtown Brooklyn.
It should come as no surprise to these residents that Borough President Marty Markowitz is a major promoter of this project. Marty is absolutely true to form. Quick. Think of something Marty has done in the area of Education, Housing, Homelessness, Jobs, Crime. This Borough President wasn’t elected because of substance. He was elected because he is a great entertainer. In more than two decades as State Senator Marty always put entertainment first with nothing else second. His colleagues in Albany often complained that Marty spent most of his time and energy into arranging his Concerts. So the Ratner project is perfect for Marty. This is his dream. He can move his concerts from Wingate Field to the new stadium where he will strut in splendor in his white tuxedo.
On the other hand Councilwoman Tish James has already proved to be a serious elected official and has passed her first test with flying colors. She never hesitated to support the residents of her community and we do not believe that her predecessor James Davis would have been as steadfast and reliable. Regrettably, most of the politicians who were willing to sign petitions and join the demonstration to prevent Assemblyman Clarence Norman from being indicted for grand larceny and extortion were not there to stand with Brooklyn residents whose community is being hijacked. The message is that although these politicians will join forces to protect each other in trouble, they disappear when the time comes to support voters who are under attack.
There are other troubling messages. Footnotes is always concerned about the integrity of elected officials who align themselves with major developers or who have problems supporting community activists against big money. Maybe its being cynical, but we always wonder whether secret deals are being cut behind the scenes for campaign support, and contracts for loved ones. We have heard stories about elected officials and contractors connected with elected officials who made millions off of Metro-Tech. It makes us think that former City Councilman Angel Rodriguez was not one of a kind, and that downtown residents should be keeping a very close watch on Brooklyn’s elected officials.